The awesome technique and strength of the Bolshoi Ballet is shown to great effect in Yuri Grigorvich's legendary Spartacus the epic story of a Thracian slave's fight for freedom. Grigorvich's choreography fills the huge Bolshoi stage with dynamic scenes of tension and conflict. This 1984 performance was directed for video by Preben Montell and stars two of the greatest artists of the Bolshoi Ballet of recent years. Irek Mukhamedov brings his stunning technique to the role of Spartacus and Natalya Bessmertnova gives a deeply moving performance as his wife Phrygia.
A production of the ballet 'Le Corsaire' performed at the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad April 1989.
An enchanting performance of the ballet 'The Nutcracker'; music by Peter Tchaikovsky filmed at the Slovak National Theatre.
Commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the painter L.S. Lowry in 1987 this BAFTA award-winning dramatic ballet celebrates the life and work of a unique artist. Created by Gillian Lynne in collaboration with the composer Carl Davis this memorable production filmed in 1987 is performed by the Northern Ballet Theatre led by ex-Royal Ballet stars Christopher Gable and Moira Shearer. Re-mastered for DVD with the addition of recent interviews with Lynne and Davis it gives a fascinating insight into the creation of an inspirational work in the history of dance which remains as fresh as ever.
Three of the most enchanting Ballet's brought together for the first time as a specially packaged gift for any aspiring ballet dancer
A ballet DVD to delight fans of the classics 'Firebird' 'Petrushka' and 'Scheherazade'.
This 1960 Film features a variety of dances from different ballets including Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Stravinsky's The Firebird and Neze's Ondine. It is an excellent showpiece for the talents of the Royal Ballet.
Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games - a spectacular new staging of the traditional masterpiece; a magical adventure of sight and sound that transports its audience to a mythical time and place lifting the spirits and capturing the hearts of all who experience it. Based on Irish folklore this classic tale of Good vs. Evil expressed through the universal language of dance has thrilled audience's worldwide and catapulted Irish dance to a new dimension and unprecedented worldwide acclaim. With all the visceral precision and thrills of the original Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games features new staging new costumes and choreography and 40 of the world's most outstanding young performers directed by Michael Flatley. With new music by composer Gerard Fahy this latest iteration combines the best of tradition with all the excitement of new music and dance!
The Rambert Dance Company first made its name in the 1920s for its creative melding of tradition and innovation. That tenet has remained central to the company's ethos and Three by Rambert showcases its particular strengths to great effect in three highly contrasting ballets. Musically, we have three utterly different scores: Janaceks searing Second String Quartet (subtitled "Intimate Letters", from which the ballet adapts its name), the moody, evocative songs of Bill Withers and, finally, a medley of folk songs from various climes. Though stylistically at odds, all three explore the twin themes of desire and loss. The other link is that, heard in isolation, none of these pieces seems remotely danceable. Its a tribute both to the choreography (Robert North in the jazz ballet "Lonely Town" , the company's artistic director Christopher Bruce in the remaining two) and to the dancers themselves that the results are so stunningly effortless. Time and again, youre struck not simply by the liquid perfection of both solo and ensemble work, but by the directness of the physical language, and the depth of emotions expressed. A brilliant showcase for one of the cultural treasures of our age. On the DVD: Three by Rambert has good sound and excellent picture, with the 16:9 format doing full justice to the different visuals encapsulated by the three ballets. The booklet is useful for basic information, though more analysis of the works would have been helpful for non-experts. Rather than 14 minutes of trailers for other titles, an introduction to the work of the company, and maybe to the ballets themselves, would have been more helpful and user-friendly.--Harriet Smith
An innovative attempt to reconfigure dance for the digital age, Evidentia is a fantasy on the idea of movement put together by a number of directors and choreographers under the guidance of French ballerina Sylvie Guillem, consisting of five separate films. "Solo" is a study in improvised gesture, virtuosically danced by William Forsythe. "Blue Yellow" dwells on Guillem's poetic dance measures in a yellow studio, looking inward from the confines of a blue room. "Smoke" explores relationships in highly abstract terms, though the emotion-laden narrative unfolded by Guillem and Niklas Ek makes for truly "visceral visuals". "Movement" is even more oblique--indeed, its montage of documentary-cum-movie footage (everything from Paris riots to Buster Keaton) and studio trickery make for a film around rather than about movement. "In the Wind, There is Someone" is, again, a video composition rather than a dance work, the Paris Opera's scenery store providing an intriguing and characterful backdrop. The films are connected by Guillem's often fanciful narration, with rehearsal sequences evoking a Chanel commercial. On the DVD: Evidentia comes in Linear-PCM Stereo with English commentary only, while the 4:3 picture format switches between black and white and colour with vivid immediacy. The booklet contains a background feature in five European languages. --Richard Whitehouse
A unique insight to the backstage preparation of Darcey Bussell on the road and in rehearsals. Featuring Adam Cooper in Herman Schmerman by William Forsythe. Darcey Pricipal Dancer of the Royal Ballet and a performer of charismatic beauty was born in London where she attended the Royal Ballet School. Kenneth MacMillan wrote Price Of The Pagodas in which Darcey created the role of Princess Rose and also Masha in MacMillan's Winter Dreams. Darcey has performed with the New York Cit
The strength of the Kirov Ballet's Giselle is also, in a sense, its principal weakness: this is a no-gimmicks, no-frills production in a performing tradition that goes back to the introduction of the work to Russia in the mid-19th century. The advantage of this is that, after all, Adam's ballet is a work of deliberate naiveté, in which a village maiden dies of a broken heart over the mere fact that her lover has deceived her about his social class; there is no subtext here nor any need for any. Galina Mezentseva is more or less perfect, both in the delicate simplicity of her every gesture and movement and in the overall sweetness and devotion that they convey; Konstantin Zaklinsky is an equally fine Albrecht--for once we entirely believe in his absence of malicious intent and welcome his salvation from her vengeful fellow ghosts. Of the others, Gennadi Selyutsky is a slightly melodramatic Hilarion, whose death in terror is a fine piece of high Victorian theatre, and Tatyana Terekhova makes the spirits' leader a figure in whom terrifying justice and vengefulness are united. On the DVD: The DVD has no frills either except for a link to the NVC-arts Web site; the booklet provides a synopsis and, criminally, no other information about either ballet, production or stars. --Roz Kaveney
Aram Khachaturian's Spartacvu The Bolshoi Ballet. Performed by Soloists and Corps de ballet of The Bolshoi Theatre Of Russia.
This superb collection of stunning pas de deux from many of the best loved classical ballets features some of the most celebrated partnerships of recent times. There are stunning perfomances choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan Marius Petipa Sir Frederick Ashton and Yuri Grigorovich from productions by The Royal Ballet The Kirov Ballet The Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Also including a pas de deux from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake (danced by Adam Cooper and Sc
Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan created some of the most popular ballets of the late 20th century drawing inspiration from impassioned and complex relationships from music and from young dancers whose talent he nurtured. This boxed set includes Romeo and Juliet and Manon two of the most frequently performed works in The Royal Ballet''s repertory and Prince of the Pagodas in which the role of Princess Rose was created for the young Darcey Bussell. Romeo And Juliet Prokofiev Since its first performance by The Royal Ballet in 1965 Sir Kenneth MacMillan''s masterpiece Romeo and Juliet has been one of the greatest successes in the repertory winning world-wide acclaim. His powerful and sensual choreography thrillingly captures the passion and agony of Shakespeare''s tragedy alongside Prokofiev''s glorious score. Nicholas Georgiadis'' designs colourfully evoke Renaissance Italy and provide a magnificent setting for the unfolding drama from the splendour of the Capulet ball to the cold bleakness of the vault in the last tragic moments. This classic performance filmed at Covent Garden in 1984 stars Wayne Eagling and Alessandra Ferri as the lovers both of whom convey the intensity of young love. Prince Of The Pagodas Britten Sir Kenneth MacMillan's glorious ballet The Prince of the Pagodas provides a fascinating and magnificent spectacle of classical dance on the grandest scale. Nicholas Georgiadis' enchanting oriental designs complement Britten's only ballet score inspired by the sounds of the gamelan establishing a fairy tale ambience. This production by The Royal Ballet filmed at Covent Garden in 1990 stars Darcey Bussell in dazzling form as Princess Rose and Jonathan Cope as the Prince. This is the role that launched Darcey Bussell''s career. Accompanying The Prince of the Pagodas is Out Of Line a documentary portrait of Kenneth MacMillan with extracts from many of his ballets including The Burrow Romeo And Juliet Gloria Manon and The Prince Of The Pagodas. Manon Music of Massenet orch. Lucas Kenneth MacMillan''s tragic lyric ballet is a moving tale of corrupted innocence in early 18th Century Paris in which the lovely Manon finds both happiness and grief at the hands of men who love and abuse her. Manon is one of MacMillan''s best-loved ballets and this acclaimed 1982 performance from The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden stars Jennifer Penney as Manon and Anthony Dowell as Des Grieux with David Wall as Lescaut.
This DVD realease features a fine quartet of ballets recorded live at the Metroplitan Opera House New York in June 1984. This mixed bill shows off both the lyrical and the virtuoso qualities of this famous comapny. Les Sylphides: Chopin's stunning one act 'romantic reverie' was premiered by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in 1909 with a cast including Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky. Choreographer Michael Fokine revived this productionfor American Ballet Theatre's opening perfor
Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker' performed by The Kirov Ballet and Orchestra conducted by Viktor Fedotov. Dancers include Viktor Baranov and Larissa Lezhnina. Filmed at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.
Since its performance by The Royal Ballet in 1965 Sir Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece Romeo and Juliet has been one of the greatest successes in the repertory winning world wide acclaim. His powerful and sensual choreography thrillingly captures the passion and agony of Shakespeare's tragedy alongside Prokofiev's glorious score. The classic performance filmed at Covent Garden in 1984 stars Wayne Eagling and Alessandra Ferri as the lovers both of whom dance their roles with tremendous intensity.
Two very different Stravinsky ballets are here presented by The Royal Ballet: the traditional, colourful designs perfectly suit the opulence of The Firebird, contrasting with the later, more austere, ritualistic scoring and choreography of Les Noces ("The Wedding"). Firebird is a traditional fairytale: the Prince gets his girl (a princess, naturally), with a little help from a magical Firebird, by defeating the evil Kostchei, who's holding the Princess and her fellow maidens captive. The devil notoriously gets all the best tunes, and with the riveting presence of David Drew's Kostchei it's apparent that baddies get the best moves in dance, too. Leanne Benjamin is an immensely athletic Firebird and Jonathan Cope, as the Prince, dances with style and personality. Les Noces is, by contrast, a genuine ensemble piece, with the principals (the bride and groom) being almost less important than the corps de ballet itself. There are a few moments of less-than-perfect ensemble here, but these pale into insignificance in the face of the raw power of Stravinsky's angular music (scored for four pianos, percussion and chorus with solo voices). A third item finds Stravinsky conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in his own Firebird Suite. The date was 1965 and he was a frail 83 at the time, but the concentration of the reading is compelling, as is his own stern visage, only breaking into a smile at the very end of the performance. This is an excellent filler for a first-rate ballet release. On the DVD: The Firebird & Les Noces on this disc are presented with terrific technical values, both visually and in sound quality (the Stravinsky archive performance is in mono, however, but it's perfectly respectable). This is a real feast for the eye, backed up by solid documentation in the booklet and excellent additional features--David Drew's arch and entertaining "Nijinska's World" and behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage--that will appeal to both seasoned ballet fans and those who are new to the art form. --Harriet Smith
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